Interview: Scott Vogel of Terror on New LP, Turning His Pain into Power, Passion for HC

Living in a world of uncertainty, pain is bound to ensue. It’s what we do with the pain that gives a new perspective. That is exactly what legendary hardcore band Terror plan to deliver with their upcoming, skull-crushing record Pain into Power. Packed with aggression and force unlike any of its predecessors, this album is bound to destroy venues across the world.

For those who have been living under a rock for the past two decades, Terror are a Los Angeles hardcore band that formed back in 2002. Over the last 20 years, the band have achieved longevity, credibility, and respect that many don’t ever achieve in their musical career.

“It’s always crazy to think we have made it to the 20-year mark. It’s been a wild ride. Still loving it—sometimes hating it, too, but this is my life and I have much to be thankful for,” vocalist Scott Vogel explains about what Terror represent to him.

Being a legend isn’t something that is just obtained through popularity and stardom. There are painstaking factors that go into solidifying yourself as an OG in the game that come with the passing of time and paying dues.

Vogel explains Terror’s consistency and success as “accepting who and what we are. We are comfortable being a hardcore band. We have ups and downs and ride them out—never letting the huge fests get to our heads and staying grounded and still loving a basement show or a show with no stage. We still love this scene and what it means. We still check for the young bands to keep up to speed on the energy of now, and at the same time, we don’t chase trends or mold to the times. We are Terror and always will be, and I think people appreciate that.”

This holds strong as the loyalty to the band is seen through its committed fanbase within the hardcore. Terror don’t fake the funk and are true to themselves. Vogel was never in hardcore to be a follower. He has a true passion for the music and explains how “at this point, it’s just a part of m—everything that the scene and the lyrics have taught me—the people it’s brought into my life, all the traveling the world and exploring it provided to me. Hardcore, at its essence, is a wonderful and powerful thing that has shaped me and will not leave me.”

It was never for the clout, but all for the genuine love of the game. This goes to say that even a giant needs its rest. After the release of their 2018 LP Total Retaliation, Terror took a break from the scene to later reignite in 2021. Vogel described that period as a moment where “the band was more forced into a break, and to be honest, Terror is always so active and relentless it probably did us all some good. I wish it was under better circumstances, but sometimes you can’t see what’s coming until it hits.”

Vogel continued by assuring that “as always, Terror did still persevere through the madness—we recorded some covers, released old songs that have been buried, did a session called Trapped in a World, and some other fun stuff. Maybe this was all to make us feel somewhat in our norm while watching the world eat itself alive. I personally moved back to Buffalo after about 20 years in LA and have tried to make the best inside the worst times I’ve seen.”

Not even a Vogelism could help mending the wounds of the pain when he said how “I sat here and thought for a minute, and I got nothing. Vogelisms is finally dead.”

This period also brought back a familiar face into the mix. OG band member, producer, guitarist, and renaissance man Todd Jones, emerged from the mists of the past to produce Pain into Power. Vogel expressed his admiration for Jones by saying “Todd is a fucking madman. He brought so much to this record. Not just his energy alone, but so many ideas in all directions. Todd, myself, and Nick started Terror, so it was pretty wild to have him be a part of this record 20 years later. I hope he comes to a show at some point, and we can get him on stage to jam a few of these songs.”

The production that Jones brings to the sonics of the album is electric. Vogel attributed Jones’s production techniques to how “he just knows when something is right or wrong. It’s all the feels for him, from what I have seen. If we try something, he just knows it doesn’t hit because doesn’t get that energy burst– and the right part or direction comes, Todd lets you know with his own energy.”

After the release of 2021’s Trapped in a World, it was only right that the band comes back in full force. Recording Trapped in a World and getting Jones back helped immensely with the creative trajectory of Pain into Power. “If I remember correctly, we asked Todd to produce the next Terror record somewhat early in the pandemic, and he agreed, so we started writing together. During that time, we would talk a ton and the idea for Trapped in a World came up. We all had so much free time we made that happen right in stride with writing new songs for the album to come,” Vogel explains.

Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us for Terror’s eighth studio album, Pain into Power. Vogel describes Pain into Power as “unrelenting brutality from start to finish.” Listeners can compare this to their earlier EP Lowest of the Low in how it has “this same element, but Pain into Power pushes it to a new level. This record does not let up.”

One of Vogel’s favorite tracks off of Pain into Power is “Unashamed.” He explains that“the energy is perfect, in my eyes. It’s just got all the cool elements I love in a Terror song, and the breakdown hits fucking hard.” The LP also contains notable features from an array of heavy-hitting vocalists. Including guest appearances from Crystal Pak (Initiate), Madison Watkins (Year of the Knife), George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), and Todd Jones (Nails) there’s plenty of raw versatility present. Vogel added that “no one needs to hear me over and over on all these songs. Some good guest spots always add a cool element to records and Terror has always been a big fan of them on our releases. Much thanks to all who lent their voice on Pain into Power.”

The title of the record holds a heavy sentiment as well. Vogel described the title’s significance as to how “We all will encounter pain. This world is cruel and hard. Don’t let it break you. Turn your pain into power—tragedy to triumph. That’s kind of what we are expressing here.”

Terror’s lyrical content is often composed of juxtaposing lyrics that elaborate on the negative while combating it with a positive outlook. Pain into Power takes a different approach. It resembles an outlook on the negativity of life and the current state of the world with little-to-no positivity. It’s like a raging bull being let out of its cage that never ceases to stop its rage.

Vogel also explains how “it was hard to find anything positive to express on this record. There are small hints, but far and few in between. The lyrics on this record are darker because the world has darkened, and I feel less and less hope to be honest. I have always wanted to keep Terror a positive band, but in 2022 that has become tough if I’m being honest.”

Even our current social and political climate in the world contributed heavily to this record. “We are living in a nightmare that will not stop,” as Vogel best describes it. The support, creativity, friends, family, and passion are what keep us going in times of darkness.

There is always light even in the darkest of tunnels for Terror. Pain into Power isn’t the end of the road for the band by any means. Vogel set expectations for fans in what we can expect moving forward into 2022 and beyond by “hopefully getting back to traveling and touring the world. Things are really moving in the right direction, so let’s all hope for the best. I saw Todd last week and demanded he produces the next Terror LP after this one, so I’m going to hold him to that! Who knows what the future holds? “Hope for the best but expect the worst” is what E Town says.”

Vogel also wanted to show his love and appreciation for his fellow comrades in hardcore by shouting out “Combust. Violent Way. King Nine. Dare. Restraining Order. Section H8. Change. DBD. Death Threat. Never Ending Game. No Rights. Berthold City. Ringworm. Year of the Knife. Exhibition. Pure Heel. Human Animal. Spy. Speed. Pain of Truth. Mindforce—I could do this forever. There is so much good HC going on right now– go out and get some of it.”

If there’s anything Vogel wants fans to take away from this hell-raising LP is that “Terror is a real deal Hardcore band. Now and forever.”

Check out the bouldering performance captured by archivist hate5six below:

Visit Terror on their social media platforms via Instagram, Bandcamp, Facebook, and Twitter.

Purchase the Pain into Power via Pure Noise Records here.

Photography courtesy of Joe Calixto, Anna Swiechowska, and Tim Finch

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